Jill’s Place

Every neighborhood has one: the Kool-Aid house. The one place where all the kids hang out, play, and laugh. Schools have them too, Kool-Aid classrooms, where kids congregate before or after school to chat with the teacher; the place to which graduates return.

Jill’s classroom was the Kool-Aid house of our school. Day after day, students stopped in to chat, surrounding her desk as she sat in her motorized scooter. Whenever I saw an All Saints graduate return for a visit, I knew exactly where they were heading: last door on the right, 5 North.

But it wasn’t just the classroom. Jill herself was a moving Kool-Aid house, a water cooler on wheels, the place where teachers would gather to laugh, complain, or comment on the latest news. If Jill was in the office, that’s where the teachers would hang out. If Jill motored outside to each lunch in the sunshine, that’s where the teachers ate lunch.

There are people in this world who, by the sheer force of their magnetic personality, draw people continually to them. Jill was such a force, and such a personality.

Where will we gather now that she is gone?

Jesus tells us:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”

Jesus has come back to take Jill to the place he has prepared for her. There are dwelling places for each of us in heaven, and when I get there I know where everyone is going to be. They’ll be hanging out at the Kool-Aid house. They’ll all be at Jill’s place.

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

8 Responses

  1. Diana smith says:

    Great description, Nick! thank you!

  2. Megan Garcia says:

    An amazing woman, teacher and friend.

    I can still remember running down the hall for help the day she fell and broke her ankle, which lead to her being wheelchair bound for the remainder of her life. She simply smiled and said “I’ll be okay.”

    Miss Gotzian was more than a teacher to her students. She was an inspiration.

  3. Rev. Mark Fischer says:

    Jill and I had lunch on February 29th many years ago… when we were so young and tackling the world from our respective positions in life. Later she and I met again briefly in 2000 or 2001 as I prepared for seminary. Today I mourn her death and rejoice in the knowledge of her profound faithfulness so wonderfully expressed by those she touched… it is all we are really ever asked to do…
    love others as we are loved by our Father in heaven. Bless you who carry on with her teaching…

  4. Tracy Ferrez says:

    “A” and I were so very sad to hear the news this day. We had only two years of knowing Jill and yet she made an incredible impact on both of us. She reminded us there is nothing one can’t do when one puts their mind to it. Thank you for touching our lives. Our prayers for the All Saints family!

  5. Dennis Kelly says:

    I have the fondest memories of a popular, perky, blond LC underclassman back in the 70’s who treated a shy, gawkie, Junior as an interesting friend and years later would be one of the best teachers my daughter Blair would have. Jill Gotzian inspired people all her live.
    What could be better than that. R.I.P.

  6. samm says:

    Ms. Gotzian will be missed….

  7. sydney says:

    miss gotzian i will miss you so much rest in peace!!

  8. The sells and love family says:

    Miss gotzian, you were an amazing teacher and mentor, not only to my children but many others. Your courage and ability to laugh at things was an inspiration. We are thinking of you in heaven freely moving around again.

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